Breaking down the aftermath of the Joplin tornado

Sunday, August 28, 2011 | 6:21 p.m. CDT

On May 22, a massive F-5 tornado ripped through Joplin.

Since then, volunteers, emergency responders and residents have been cleaning up the mess and trying to regain a sense of normalcy. Three months after the destruction, here are a few statistics you might not know: 

  • More than 150 people died as a result of the tornado.
  • More than 500 businesses were destroyed or damaged.
  • About 400 businesses reopened, relocated or are in the process of reopening.

  • 5,000 employees in Joplin were left without a place to work, according to the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.

  • 1,200 people sought unemployment benefits.

  • According to the City of Joplin Public Information Office, 82,622 registered volunteers gave 408,526 hours of service as of Tuesday.
  • The tornado damaged or destroyed 7,500 housing units.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved $17 million for the Individual Assistance Program that helps with housing and other unmet needs in Jasper and Newton counties.
  • According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency removed 1.5 million cubic yards of debris.
  • More than 400 law enforcement and fire department agencies responded.
  •  1,308 pets were rescued and brought to animal shelters. Of those, 528 pets were reunited with their owners and 745 were adopted.

Sources: FEMA, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Joplin Public Information Office.

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Jeremy Calton August 28, 2011 | 1:31 p.m.

Dear Joplin,
You are so 3 months ago. We're moving on.

(Report Comment)
Mike Martin August 28, 2011 | 3:31 p.m.

Americorps -- a mostly-voluntary national service organization created by President Bill Clinton and Congress, has turned out to be real heroes in the Joplin rebuilding and cleanup effort.

Young Americorps volunteers were all over the damaged areas yesterday, passing out everything from rakes and shovels to bottled water and box lunches; supervising hundreds of green-shirted helpers; assuring safety; and helping with the end result: lot after lot, raked clean of debris.

In sweltering heat, volunteers moved everything from household garbage to chunks of concrete streetside for easy collection. The before and after was simply striking.

(The tornado ripped out virtually every standing tree, so the first thing that strikes one about the area is its hot, desolate, desert-like feel.)

So to heck with FEMA, which supposedly "ran out" of our tax money, leaving homes ready to collapse scattered all around Joplin.

(I could say something about a certain U.S. President driving around on $2.2 million worth of Canadian-built buses and having a grand old umpteenth vacation while our troops continue battling on overseas and disasters seem to lurk around every weary corner. But I still haven't read that book about the man's "pure-blooded pragmatism" discussed so much here of late, so I'll be nice and refrain).


(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire August 28, 2011 | 3:48 p.m.

I know. Let's rebuild it just like it was. Maybe another tornado won't strike it. When it does, it will be Obama's fault. Or some other politician that you don't like.

(Report Comment)

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